21st Jan, 2018

Coombe Abbey raise a tea cup for inspiring volunteer

Shaun Reynolds 24th May, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

A GROUP of senior citizens have raised a tea cup of thanks to the award-winning volunteer who runs their club.

Rosemary McCarthy was crowned Coventry and Warwickshire’s Volunteer of the Year in recognition of her work managing a local club for elderly people in the community.

To reward the Finham resident for her efforts, Coombe Abbey – which sponsored the category at the Pride of Coventry and Warwickshire Awards – decided to reward Rosemary further by inviting her, and 50 members, to a VIP afternoon tea party.

The 66-year-old has been running the club, which meets every Monday at St Martin’s Church in Finham for lunch, for six years after she retired from teaching at a local primary school.

For many members, the Monday meetings are the only opportunity they get each week to escape isolation and socialise with other like-minded people – something Rosemary describes as a ‘lifeline’.

The 50 members enjoyed the VIP experience in the venue’s grand Cloisters room, sampling the restaurant’s finest finger sandwiches and cream teas with the company of local breakfast radio presenter JD.

Rosemary said to have been commended at the awards had been a humbling experience, but to receive further recognition with an afternoon at the hotel was absolutely brilliant.

She added: “Although I don’t think anything I do is particularly extraordinary, I was delighted to be crowned Volunteer of the Year.

“Every member was amazed when we were invited along as guests of Coombe Abbey.

“Their faces showed their surprise and pleasure – they were really impressed by the hotel’s history, it’s rare that many of them would get chance to visit somewhere as remarkable as that.

“We really were overwhelmed with all the fuss – everybody left absolutely beaming.”

When Rosemary first took on the seniors’ club in 2009, numbers had been in decline for some time – after dwindling from its peak of around 150 to just 12 members.

In six years, Rosemary has more than tripled that figure to over 50 regular lunch club attendees today.

As part of her VIP treatment, Rosemary also received a bouquet of flowers and had a toast made in her honour by Coombe’s director of sales, June Picken.

June, who also attended the awards ceremony and congratulated Rosemary on the evening, said: “Rosemary’s dedication to helping those more vulnerable was humbling to see.

“We were only too happy to reward her efforts with a VIP experience for herself and the club at Coombe Abbey.

“Thanks must also go to our supplier Johnson’s Coaches who supplied complementary transport for the club to and from the hotel.”

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